Minnesota United forward Kevin Molino (L) scored two of his team's three goals in a win over Sporting KC on Thursday in Kansas City, Kan. Photo courtesy of Minnesota United
Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Kevin Molino scored two first-half goals to spark an upset of top seed Sporting Kansas City and lead Minnesota United into the Western Conference final in the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Molino scored in the 27th and 35th minutes of the 3-0 victory on Thursday at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan. Bakaye Dibassy scored Minnesota United's third goal.
Midfielder Emanuel Reynoso assisted all three scores. Minnesota United goalie Dayne St. Clair had four saves en route to his clean sheet. St. Clair had several key saves early in the first half before he received offensive support.
"I think we really trusted our front four, we knew that we'd get chances," St. Clair told reporters. "So, going into the game for me, was just try to keep the ball out of the back of the net for as long as possible and I knew our front four would definitely get a chance and score on them."
Minnesota United moves on the face the defending champion Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference final on Monday at Lumen Field in Seattle. The winner of that match battles the New England Revolution or Columbus Crew in the MLS Cup final on Dec. 12.
"It was a big win for us," United manager Adrian Heath said. "A big performance. ... I said to the guys [before the game] that if we don't beat ourselves and give something away -- which, we nearly did, in the beginning -- I fancy us strongly."
Reynoso picked up a pass deep in Sporting KC territory at the start of the first fast break. He then slipped a short pass onto Molino, who dribbled into the box. Molino then put the ball on his right foot and ripped a shot, which deflected off Sporting KC keeper Tim Melia and went into the net.
Reynoso chipped in a beautiful pass to spark United's second score. The midfielder did a give-and-go sequence deep down the right flank at the start of that play. He then used his left foot for a first-touch loft over the defense to find Molino.
Molino then dove and used his right foot for a soft first-touch shot, which bounced into the left side of the net.
United scored the third and final goal of the game about 4 minutes later. Reynoso took a corner kick from the right side to spark that score. The inswinger curved from left to right before it fell in about three yards in front of the goal.
Dibassy then jumped and put his head on the feed to flick a shot past Melia
"I give Minnesota a lot of credit," Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. "They found a way. They were very good in transition and on the goals that they scored in that short period of time.
"After that, we couldn't find a goal. That's the way that it goes sometimes."
The Sounders host United at 9:30 p.m. EST on Monday in Seattle. The 2020 Western Conference final airs on FS1.